English Ivy Removal
English Ivy (Hedera helix and Hedera hibernica) is an aggressive, invasive vining plant that has spread over much of western Washington and Oregon, even down into California. English ivy is a vine from Western Europe, brought to the states for use as landscape plant. In regions such as ours, the ivy is an aggressive invader—escaping landscapes to overrun forest ecosystems. Plants common to our forest floors are not equipped to compete with the foreign habits of the ivy. English ivy now poses serious hazards to forested plant communities west of the Cascades. Consequently, the sale of numerous types of English ivy (or ivy cultivars), is now illegal in the state of Oregon.
Removing ivy from trees: You should remove any English ivy from the base of the trunk to roughly 3 to 5 feet high—remove the vine at least to waist level. (With its roots thus removed, higher ivy should eventually die off.) To properly eradicate the aggressive vine from the tree, place a screwdriver or any flat, sturdy object—such as a pry bar, under the vine and gently pull away from the tree. Depending on the thickness of the vine, cut with gardening shears or a pruning saw. Be careful not to damage the tree’s bark. Once the ivy is removed from the tree, make sure to pull any roots from the ground, as deep as possible, 6 feet around the base of the tree. Check back often for any regrowth and remove it.
General removal: You can mow ivy groundcover to ground level several times a year to slowly kill the spreading vine. This process can take upwards of ten years to fully control the plant. With a pair of thick gardening gloves, pull out any English ivy, making sure to remove all of the roots. A trowel can be used over hand-pulling to help with any stubborn roots. Check the eradicated area often and pull out any new growth or leftover plants that may have survived. Some gardeners suggest waiting until the soil is moist because roots will not adhere as much to the soil and can be removed much easier. Herbicide is the most effective method of controlling English Ivy, though the plants unique waxy coating make this process difficult. Consult with Peninsula Horticulture before starting any herbicide regime to control English Ivy.
After removal: Make sure to throw away the removed ivy immediately after removal because new plants can grow from cut/broken stems. Do not compost it, as it will root in your compost pile!
Mulch: Cover the eradicated area with a thick layer of mulch—typically 6 to 8 inches—to keep the English ivy from returning.